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Crypto can be the next phase of 'attention economy': Variant Fund co-founder

Crypto assets enable participants across the value chain to benefit from the attention economy

Crypto can be the next phase of 'attention economy': Variant Fund co-founder

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Meme coins and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) translate attention value into economic value more efficiently when compared to Web2 platforms, stated Variant Fund’s co-founder Li Jin in the latest post of her newsletter. She mentions as an example the selling of an NFT of Achi, the dog that illustrates the famous meme coin Dogwifhat, for over $4 million on the marketplace Foundation.

Jin explains that the attention economy consists of platforms competing intensely for user attention, and treating attention as a commodity to be monetized. She adds that the current era of the internet, labeled as ‘Web2’, lacks sufficient mechanisms to measure attention’s quality and intensity, and the proper financial tools to facilitate value capture.

“Advertising, the dominant business model of Web2, is a suboptimal way to capture value from attention: attribution is imperfect, and certain types of value aren’t adequately captured by ads. […] The dominant business model for Web2 platforms is to amass as much data about users as possible, such that they can be more effectively targeted for advertising,” Jin states.

Based on its shortcomings from Web2, the Variant Fund co-founder sees crypto as the next iteration of the attention economy with more efficient markets. Tokens like meme coins and NFTs are “attention assets” that measure and capture attention value in real time. When users invest in meme coins, they make a statement about that token and the meme growing in popularity.

“Platforms like Perl,, and have created new financialized markets around attention, allowing users to profit based on whether they correctly guess which assets, creators, or content will succeed in garnering more attention.”

The reverse is also true, and Jin expands her thoughts about meme coins as “new go-to-market strategies” to tokens, stating that tokens can also bootstrap initial attention, forming speculative communities that pave the way for organic interest.

“The difference from the web2 to the web3 iteration of the attention economy is that in web3, everyone in the value chain can benefit from being owners of attention assets—whether they originated the object of attention, or merely paid attention early,” she concludes.

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